Simon Le Bon will be back at Cowes Week to take part in the Artemis Challenge. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
ROYALTY, rugby and rock 'n’ roll will take to the waters around the Isle of Wight in the Artemis Challenge today(Thursday).
The annual blast around the Island will welcome back Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall as they race against experienced sailors Yasmin and Simon Le Bon.
The event forms forms part of Ladies Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, and each crew is racing for a share of the £10,000 prize fund which will be donated to a charity of their choice.
Phillips and Tindall are on-board Artemis Ocean Racing II, skippered by the solo sailing big gun, Brian Thompson.
The Le Bons are on 'Azzam’ with the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, one of the six current challengers for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. 'Azzam’ is skippered by one of Britain’s most successful sailors, double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker.
They will be joined by the inspirational Keith Burhans, a 58-year-old Paralympic sailor from the USA, who became a double lower leg amputee in 1995 after a boating accident in which he saved the lives of his two daughters.
The determined sailor fought his way back to the sport he loved and represented the USA at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Within the fleet, two ocean-pedigree trimarans will be hoping to break the record for racing around the IW, last set during the Artemis Challenge in 2012.
Musandam-Oman Sail and Prince de Bretagne will be hoping the conditions will deliver fast and furious sailing as they lead out the fleet of five monohulls from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line at 10am.